It’s never too early to start planning for your future career. When you turn 18 years old, you’ll likely find yourself at a stage where you’re beginning to make big life decisions. From deciding where to attend college, to what to major in, to what kind of job you may want, there’s a lot going through your mind.
During this time, you can start paving the path for future success with small steps. Here’s a look at what you can do at 18 to be best prepared for what’s yet to come, no matter what you may have in mind.
Things You Can Do at 18 to Boost Future Career Success
What can you do when you are 18? This list is arguably limitless. But, to reign it in and provide some actionable and universal ideas, we’ve compiled this list to help get you started!
In the same vein, it’s best to begin saving money as soon as possible. As you continue to grow your savings account, you will be able to lessen financial burdens or stress as you’ll have a stash in case of emergencies or whatever you may need money for.
Whether you choose to invest a portion of your paycheck or some of your savings, it’s a way to have your money make money for you, passively. Investing comes with risk, but without risk, there’s also no reward.
You can choose to invest on your own terms by utilizing an app like Robinhood, for example, or consult with financial advisors to help with your investment strategy. Whatever you choose to do, remember that it’s always best to diversify!
Apply for jobs
Getting a job before you were 18 years old probably came along with its share of challenges. But, once you turn 18, you are of legal age and join a talent pool without restrictions. This means that you’ll now have a higher chance of being hired simply because you are “of age.” Getting a job early will help you to learn life skills, network professionally, earn money, and grow as a person.
If you have the time and resources, this could be a great time to travel. Whether you choose to take a gap year to figure things out, or select a study abroad program to earn college credits while experiencing a new culture, you’re at an important turning point of life.
It may seem like a strange suggestion, but you’re only young once, which means now is the time to try new things! In terms of financial planning, you have the investment horizon to be more risky as you have more time to make back any losses. In terms of other types of risks, having a risk-loving attitude will likely result in adventure, learning, and unforgettable moments, so it’s worth it.
Prioritize your time
With age, time seems to move more quickly. Although you still have the same 24 hours in a day, it will speed by as you take on more responsibilities, including work, college, socializing, family time, and the like. In order to tend to what’s most important to you, you’ll have to begin to prioritize your own set of wants, needs, and goals. This way, you can allocate time wisely.
One of the most important things you can do at any stage of life, but especially as you enter adulthood, is to be healthy. This includes all forms of health — physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Try to exercise, get adequate sleep, and eat healthy foods to maintain optimal functioning.
If your schedule is able to accommodate it, working part-time can be a great way to build your resume while earning your degree. It’s a way to make money, supplement any academic learning with real-world practice, and expand your opportunities. Working part-time can also be a useful way to discover what you like and dislike, which may impact what you choose to study and pursue as a career.
Find a mentor
Undoubtedly, you’ll face hardships and challenges in life, especially during a time when you are making a lot of important decisions. That’s why it’s useful to find a mentor. In an academic, work, or personal setting, you may be able to find a mentor that can help you with problem-solving and by giving you advice. Some colleges, like the University of the People, even offer a mentorship program.
Join professional organizations
If you have an idea of what kind of career you want, then you can get started solidifying relationships in your field of choice now by joining professional organizations. You can find these professional organizations online or possibly through your college.
Get an internship
Another way to ensure a successful career in the future is to obtain internships. Internships are ways for students to earn hands-on experience while studying. Internships may be paid and/or provide you with college credits. There are many benefits to having an internship, including: the skills you learn, the people you meet, and the experience you gain (a great line item on your CV), to name a few.
Earn an online degree
With a high school diploma and proof of English proficiency, you can apply to earn an accredited online degree at the University of the People. We offer degree programs in Health Science, Business Administration, Computer Science, and Education. Our students join us from all over the world, and upon graduating with a degree from our institution, they are ready to get started in the career of their choice. Best of all, our degrees are tuition-free.
Open a credit card in your own name
There are many things in life that require good credit, or at least some form of credit history. From leasing a car to getting a mortgage, you’ll need to apply and be approved. This all begins with establishing and building credit in your own name.
To do so, you’ll want to start by opening a credit card in your own name. When you have a credit card, it’s important to give yourself a budget that you can cover so that you don’t start accumulating interest. As you spend more and pay off the credit card on time, you’ll be able to increase your credit limit, or amount you can borrow, with the bank.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know what you can do at 18 to prepare for a successful career, where will you begin? You can cross one, many, or all of the ideas off your list as you see fit. Even if you are still unsure of what you want your career to be, these recommendations can help you on the journey to figuring it out.